Tuesday, 19 May 2015

We Are Detective

I have been a parent for a full nine years today and in that time I've acquired plenty of new skills including (but not limited to):

* Being able to pick up spiders without screaming
* Being able to stand on bits of Lego without swearing (when there are children present)
* Being able to function on four hours sleep
* Being able to find a favourite teddy bear in the dark on feel alone

The thing I hadn't anticipated was that I'd become an amazing detective and I realised - as a friend posted on Facebook that she was monitoring what her teenager was up to on Instagram - that I am not alone...  It occurred to me that it is an inherent part of parenting, and one that has very clear stages:

Baby Detective

Hmmm - what is that smell?  Is that my baby?  Well let's find out....  There isn't a parent on this earth that hasn't lifted their child aloft to smell their nappy.  Not sure?  Then take another deep inhalation, consider the richness of the aroma, and pass them to your partner to have a good sniff.  And then get them to change the baby :0)

Toddler Detective

Nappies are gone but oh god, what has happened to the house?!  The walls in the hall look like they have been vandalised and there is a puddle on the floor..  Follow the wet footprints to find your toddler with a dark patch on the front of their trousers, six half-eaten crayons in their hands and a multi-coloured smile. 

See also: your child has chunks missing from their hair and the nail scissors have gone missing. 

Child Detective

The 'potion' that started it all...
Things become a little more elaborate as the acquisition of speech, independence and the desire to create mischief come to the fore:

Me:  "What are you doing in the bathroom?"
Small person:  "Using the toilet"
.......minutes pass.......
Me:  "Are you still in the bathroom?"
Small person:  "Just finishing!"

The door opens, and out wafts a smell not unlike some of my body lotion.  And toothpaste.  And mouthwash.  And my husband's deodorant.  There is a pot on the side of the sink and a pen that has obviously been used for 'stirring'.

Me:  "Have you been making potions again?"
Small person:  "Yes". 
Me:  "With my Clarins?"
Small person: "ummmmm, maybe - I can't remember"

Biscuits mysteriously disappear only for wrappers to surface in unlikely places, one of the children cannot find their favourite toy and the other cannot stop laughing because they have hidden it away...it's all gearing up a notch.  Pretending to brush your teeth has become an Olympic sport in our house as the children spend longer trying to recreate the effects of brushing (wet toothbrush, minty breath) than it would take them to brush their teeth.  I know they haven't brushed their teeth because I used to do exactly the same thing (and because the sink isn't coated in toothpaste spit - it's all in the details...) 

If this pattern is correct, and if they do indeed use the same methods for finding their own independence as I did then I am dreading tackling the Teenage Detective phase - I'm going to need more than a keen eye and a good sense of smell!

Soundtrack: We Are Detective - Thompson Twins

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Election Day

The most interesting thing about this election for me so far has been that the children are old enough to (vaguely) comprehend what is going on.  They've been talking about it at school, asking questions about the boards and banners being put up in people's gardens, and even had the local MP rock up at the school gates in the hope of catching parents for a chat in that nanosecond that you have between dropping your child off and trying to re-engage your brain for whatever it is you're supposed to be doing for the rest of the day.  I would have loved to talk policies but had the rather more pressing issue of remembering to remove the Power Ranger from my jacket pocket and trying to arrange my features into something other than disheveled bewilderment before the meeting I was heading to.

Introducing the children to our political system has woken me up a bit, encouraged me to be more engaged and given us as a family the opportunity to discuss what happens in our local community and the "building from the HP Sauce bottle".  

Here's what they've thought about it so far:

1. "You should not vote for David Cameron - because he's had a go, now it's someone else's turn."

Why is the man from Hop involved?
(c) The Times
2. "But you should vote for David Cameron if you want to, because your vote is private, and no-one can tell you who to vote for."

3. "Why is the man from Hop involved in the election?"  

4. "Which one in the picture is the politician?"  

5. "Ed Miliband?  Russell Milibrand?  Ed Brand?  Which one is the politician again?"

Cast your vote!
6. "If you vote for my friend's granddad - he'll take us all inside Big Ben.  It's true, he told me."  (I thought this was a big wind up until I discovered that one of his friend's granddad's is standing as an MP. Whether being an MP allows you to take your grandson's friends and family into Big Ben I'm unsure, but nonetheless I owed him an apology).

7. "David Cameron talks nonsense.  My friend told me."

8. "It looks like you need to post your vote in the recycling bins."  They're not wrong!

I also discovered that you can't be too bleeding serious and earnest about this, and if you take your children into the village hall to witness the wonder that is democracy, and living in a country where you can cast a vote without fear of being attacked or intimidated they will do what all small children would do in these circumstances - walk up onto the stage (oh yeah, we've got a stage in our village hall!), pull back the curtains and leap off it like a lead guitarist jumping into a moshpit.  Voting ROCKS!

Soundtrack: Election Day, Arcadia

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